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keith23
06-04-2004, 04:01 PM
Has anyone tried using a Wacom tablet and pen to alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome and/or tendonitis? I am having a hell of a time with my wrist and thumb. I alternately use a regular mouse and also a Kensington trackball, but still have problems. Just wondering how a Wacom system would work with LW?

wacom
06-04-2004, 04:25 PM
This is the best deal for the money as a replacement for a mouse:

http://www.evoluent.com/

There is another brand called Quill that is good, but it will cost twice as much. On the site they are showing the new model, but there is an old corded model that works the same. It has four buttons and a clickable scroll wheel. You can make control keys for each button as well (I set up the extra two to switch from point to polygon mode in LW). It's a lazer mouse as well and there are drivers that can get it working on a Mac.

It works well because it puts your hand in the "hand shake poition" and eliminates the pinching of the nerves that cause Carpal tunnel syndrome. My girlfriend got me hooked on it when she got one for her work due to her aquiring really bad carpal tunnel. It's well worth the money once you get use to it- and I'm not the only person who'd swear by it. Be sure to check it out!

PS I have a wacom and I still think that it isn't always the best replacement for a mouse. I suggest getting each as they can keep you from holding your hand in the same position all the time if you switch between them for diffrent tasks (IE most basic stuff with the Evoluent and photoshop/texturing with the wacom).

Jirapong
06-04-2004, 04:27 PM
You might feel stifff n you fingers when using wacon s long and intensively. I sometime waring wristgard with the pad underneth, clled Smart Glove. It helps to lock my wrist and forces me to move entire arm instead. But it's really helpful.

UnCommonGrafx
06-04-2004, 05:50 PM
Get a mouse with the stylus so you can go back and forth. I am finding that the addition of the mouse offers the hand a much needed break during a long day.

I sign (American Sign Language), too, so this is very important for me as we are predisposed to CTS.

And it's the greatest when typing short stuff like this cuz you don't have to let it go! (Typing with it still in my hand.)

riki
06-04-2004, 06:48 PM
Thanks for the advice, I need to try something like that. Do they have an online retail outlet?

keith23
06-04-2004, 08:32 PM
Thanks everybody, for the advice. So is the consensus that the Wacom (or similar) is suitable for LW Modeler use ?

I too have been alternating between all sorts of wrist supports and so forth, but they don't help much. That evoluent mouse looks pretty cool. I think I'm also gonna have to get the Wacom tablet and pen.

FONGOOL
06-04-2004, 08:44 PM
I actually saw a thread in an art forum where some people were complaining that using a Wacom CAUSES carpal tunnel...

Personally, I love my Wacom for drawing, but would never use it as a mouse replacement. I find it way too clumsy for double clicking and dragging. I wouldn't use it for LW.

But that's just personal preference. :)

Steve

keith23
06-04-2004, 09:41 PM
Would a Wacom allow you to program hot keys to serve as the right and left mouse buttons, for double clicking and so forth?

keith23
06-04-2004, 09:44 PM
Oh yeah, I went to the Evoluent website to buy one of their upright mouses but the "buy now" button didn't work, nor did the "dealer list" button. How do you buy one of those dang things?

wacom
06-05-2004, 12:43 AM
Originally posted by keith23
Oh yeah, I went to the Evoluent website to buy one of their upright mouses but the "buy now" button didn't work, nor did the "dealer list" button. How do you buy one of those dang things?

Unfortunatly they're kind of a small company. The first mouse is out for sale.
Do a search on Amazon and around the web and you'll find one.

Here is one:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00007L6I5/qid=1086417168/sr=8-1/ref=pd_ka_1/104-9876554-2315125?v=glance&s=electronics&n=507846

They are in the process of updating thier site, so I don't think it's all running yet.

The key is to get something that puts your arm back to its natural position (the hand shake position) to prevent the twisting of your bones and the pinching of nerves.

Here is another version (which I don't like as much, but many people swear by it):

http://www.quillmouse.com/

Looks stupid, but uses the same idea as the evoluent mouse. The Quill is highly rated. There are also some other ones that look like joysticks that you move around like a mouse. Same idea there too- vertical hand. I think that 3M and a few other companys make them.

In addition you might want to look into getting a goldtouch keyboard. I have one that is fully adjustable in 40x40 degrees split. It can really help and if you search on ebay you might be able to get it for as low as 30-50 bucks ((which is about 80 dollars cheaper than most places charge).

http://www.goldtouch.com/purchase/keyboard.html

Good luck- remember the golden rules:

1 Vertical, natural hand placement is the best.

2 Vary your hand placement when typing and try to get as vertical as you can.

Mattoo
06-05-2004, 06:26 AM
Originally posted by keith23
Would a Wacom allow you to program hot keys to serve as the right and left mouse buttons, for double clicking and so forth?

The Wacom pen has two thumb buttons, the top one by default is mapped to double-left-click. So you just hover over a file and hit that button with your thumb, the other button is the right-mouse button. It treats the nib as a left mouse click of course.

The buttons are all re-assignable. For instance at work I have to re-assign the top button to be a middle-mouse button because Maya pretty much needs a middle-mouse button.

As for related stresses, I don't have trouble with my hand but sometimes get an ache in my elbow and upper arm, I guess because of the larger strokes and stuff.

keith23
06-05-2004, 01:26 PM
Thanks again all, for the input. Once I started thinking about how my arm is being twisted all day long... ouch! I've been drawing/painting/modeling with a regular mouse for 14 years and it's starting to catch up with me. Maybe with both of them I can get some relief. Otherwise I'm gonna have to find a new non-mouse related job....:(

wacom
06-05-2004, 04:20 PM
Originally posted by keith23
Thanks again all, for the input. Once I started thinking about how my arm is being twisted all day long... ouch! I've been drawing/painting/modeling with a regular mouse for 14 years and it's starting to catch up with me. Maybe with both of them I can get some relief. Otherwise I'm gonna have to find a new non-mouse related job....:(

I'd start with a cheaper wacom (graphire) and a TRUE vertical mouse. The switch up between the two should help your situation. The vertical mouse alone should help with 80% of your issues. I think this solution (vertical hand placement) seems so simple that people over look it! You might already know this, but many don't: this kind of nerve damage is, for the most part, permanent and the most you can hope for is to stop the degradation and lower the swelling of the effected nerves.

People who do things like carving and wood working suffer from things like this too...so it's best to look at many things in your life that could contribute to it. Video games (like a PS2 controller), knitting, etc. can worsen the problem as well.

keith23
06-05-2004, 05:21 PM
Yeah, that sounds good. Now, which vertical mouse to get - the Quillmouse or wait for the Evoluent...

faulknermano
06-06-2004, 12:51 AM
Originally posted by UnCommonGrafx

I sign (American Sign Language), too, so this is very important for me as we are predisposed to CTS.


hey! i sign too! ASL and FSL - filipino sign - which is not very different since the ASL teachers come over here and they have alot of influence with each other.

Exception
06-07-2004, 10:12 AM
Hi folks, I wrote this article for the Lightwave newsgroup a few years back. It should be helpfull in order to decide about preventing RSI. Although iuts written quite informally, it took quite a while to investigate and research. It was actually my field of study at the time. This article is quite valid and not much has changed over the years (including vertical mice, which might prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome but NOT RSI, since the movements are as small as with a normal mouse). Its posted in 2 parts. Please read it in its entirety if you're interested. Excuse the typos and the occasional bad grammar. I'm not an native english speaker.

Hello Folks,
After some posts I received from some of you, I will post some information on RSI. Today I saw some examples of some great people suffering from RSI, and some of them losing their carreer over it. As you all may know very well, computer users are at a great risk to develop RSI. Especially those of us who work more than one hour a day behind a computer (I bet 100% of us even). I think this post contains some vital information for ALL of us, and it might be wise to considder altering your workspace environment, and certaily some pieces of equipment.

In this post I will explain these things:

-What is RSI?
-How serious is RSI anyway?
-How do I know I have RSI or am developing it?
-What do I do to prevent RSI from further development?
-What do I do if this post turns out I already have a bad case of RSI?
- Some VERY important tips and hits to prevent RSI for modelers, animators, DPI-ers, and other long-duration computer users, by means of different products

To start with the first:

What is RSI?

RSI stands for Repetitive Strain Injury. In laymans terms: damage done to your body (be it severe structure damaging or still within the regenerating powers of the body) by repeated movement, displacement of the body, thus either a static or dynamic constant or slightly varying load.
As you see, this is a very general term, and it is a general problem. Not only computer users, but users of heavy machinery like truckdrivers, and surgeons suffer from it in some eyebrow-raising manner... RSI is caused by a number of things. Most important of all is hinderance of blood and nerve impulses by exterior objects (like when you put your arm on the edge of a sharp table) combined with movement consisting of about 10-15% of the maximum power that can be delivered by any the muscles.
That means, when you take 10% of the power you can maximally exort, and do things repeatedly over a longer period of time, there already is 20-30% reduction in bloodpressure in that body part. Be aware that 10% of your total strenght is nothing unusual. It's like moving your mouse over a slightly rough surface like a mat (don't forget you move your arm as well!), often combined with wedged bloodvessels and/or nerves.

How serious is RSI anyway?

Well, let's say that if you're unaware that RSI may strike experienced users as well as normal users, that often through stress and workpressure the symptoms are ignored, and more of this, it may result in you losing one year if you're lucky, to two, three, even four years, or your life long to RSI. I hear you thinking: 'yeah right... a little ache in my hand is gonna ruin my life'. Well, it's not just your hand. It's your arm, neck, shoulders, back, legs, eyes and so on. when you seriously overload your shoulder (most common problem with computer users) you can damage your shoulder enough so you won't be able to work in 5 years with that arm. I can guarantee you that that will ruin your carreer as a computer-artist. Sounds serious enough? Read on then...

How do I know if I have RSI or are developing it?

For convenience there are four phases where you could or could not be in. This is just a model, and you should always listen to your body first. If a symptom keeps persisting, whatever it is, GO SEE A FYSIOTHERAPIST! it might save your carreer.

Phase 0:
You do not have RSI, you have no strains in your body, besides of sometimes a stiff neck (possible danger there if occurs often), an ache here or there, but not really related to use of equipment or some routine. This is the phase you really SHOULD be aware of RSI, and should do the things to prevent it,. any phase later is too late, for RSI cannot be healed with medicine or operations. It can only be prevented.

Phase 1:
You have some aches sometimes after using a mouse, keyboard, or writing a letter, or whatever. You will have some irritations, which often don't last very long, but are certainly there. This is your last chance to go back.

Phase 2:
You have pain when you're not working, you find things you used to do uncomfortable, you can have sweaty hands... you find yourselve rubbing your wrists every once in a while, you might get headaches. This is a large phase, and symptoms are very individual. Here the real damage occurs if ignored.

Phase 3:
You experience a loss in power in some body parts, your hands are tingly, they feel warm or cold, they turn different colors, the structure on especially the hands may change, and your hands can sweat.
There is often some pain, but not very grave... Untill one point, where the body part fails, and -for instance- your shoulder refuses to do anything, every attempt to move it will result in extreme pain, and it feels -locked-. IF ANYONE EXPERIENCES COLD/WARM/SWEATY HANDS OR ANYTHING IN THAT MANNER, OR ANY OTHER BODY PART BEHAVING IN A STRANGE WAY (tingling), GO SEE A DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY! I cannot stress this enough!
Leave the business you're doing RIGHT NOW, and go see a doctor! You might prevent something far worse: Permanent damage!

Exception
06-07-2004, 10:13 AM
What do I do to prevent RSI from further development?

If you are in phase 0,1 or in the beginning of 2, you might be able to stop it progressing, or occuring at all. If you're good into phase 2 or in 3, you should STOP using your computer, or whatever equipment you think causes it and see a doctor.

The most important thing to prevent all this is: variation, and rest. After each hour of intensive work, you should do something different for 10 minutes. Get some tea, go do somethign really different... take a walk, shake your hands and so on. Some exercise with your hands (if this is the problem area) is good as well, if you have to do things with your shoulders, you should strengthen your muscles, so that the percentage drops down...

Second thing: for the happy two-sided people here, switch your mouse/pointing device from left to right and vice versa at least once an hour.
For others: get two pointing devices, and switch between them. As far as the keyboard goes... hover above it, and DO NOT rest your hands on the table whilst typing! I know this is a hard thing to do, but it really helps! A wrist-rest is very usefull for modeling work, where you sometimes press a key, and can rest your hand on it, but it MUST be SOFT! Your veins and nerves should NOT get blocked. You could as well put your hand on it's side next to the KB.. but that often is not sufficent, for reaching some keys get difficult. Get an ergonomical workspace, which will appoint your body in the right position. I won't get into this, the only thing I want to say is: Put the upper rim of your monitor at eye level or somewhere above (max to 1/4 mon. height up), Get arm rests that support your arms when you relax them, or when you use your mouse, look at your chair very closely, most office chairs are VERY BAD, such as high backs, which will not give you proper back-support. To say it in one sentence: Vary your movements, and take care of proper blood-flow..

What do I do if this post turns out I already have a bad case of RSI?

See a doctor NOW! It might save your carreer! Imagine not being able to play baseball with your kis when you're 45, just because you didn;t get a tablet when you were 25.

Some VERY important tips and hits to prevent RSI for modelers, animators, DPI-ers, and other long-duration computer users, by means of different products:

You all want to hear what you MUST and MUST not use. Well.. that's difficult. No normal product is bad. Your workposition is. If you have a mous, and got it on sensitivity level 100, put it to 1. The larger the movement the better. People who cannot type with 10 fingers: Don't learn to type with 10 fingers! If you type with less fingers, your hands move more, and in a more varying manner as when you type with all ten, in a steady manner. Although you might considder taking some lessons of normal two-finger- typing takes too long for extended amounts of time typing with two fingers is of course not good.

The best product to PREVENT RSI is a tablet (size a5 and up). this will make your arm move more than with a mouse (which is good) but you exert hardly any pressure. (large movements: good, pressure: bad) Besides that the pen offers a greater variety of handling, in contrast to a mouse, where everyone is forced into thesame position. Everyone will hold a pen in their own way and thus minimize the strain on the body. Your wrist doest rest on anything and therefore there is a much smaller chance of getting CTS. You can also get two different pointing devices.. like a finger-tablet (hideously bad things in my opinion) and a mouse, a trackball, and a mouse, and alter them... but beware that you tend to only use one, and leave the other to do nothing at all. Trackballs are WORSE than mice. You only move your thumb with very very small increments, and this will CERTAINLY lead to RSI after extended periods of time... and don't say: Well I am using a trackball for 5 years now and I never felt anything... well, you just wait then. It's like saying: My dad used to smoke his entire life, and he turned 100! therefore smoking is not bad! Be carefull with your body, and listen to it, and try as much as possible to prevent it. Bigballed Trackballs are wayway better. Like the Logitech marble FX, but they still are bad. The best mice are symmetrical mice wich support the ENTIRE hand... you DO NOT want your wrist on the table, this will wedge your bloodvessels, your veins, and your nerves! (I don't think there are many mice who DO support your hand.. but they are there!) A mouse should have buttons where your fingers can lie on without causing a button to depress. That means you don't have to have your finger lifted constantly. If you do much typing from a sheet, get a document holder. this will relieve your neck from the repetitive bending. Remember CTS is not the same as RSI. Preventing RSI is a much larger scope than preventing CTS. It has to do with your entire body and posture including details like mice and hand positioning.

I think this is enough for now, I have to take a few minutes rest, and shake my hands... If ANYONE has ANY question regarding this, or ergonomic design and don;t know where to ask it, feel free to ask me, i will answer it, look up your question, propose it to to biomechanical-wonderpeople, or appoint you into the direction where to look. Just know that any little thing is important, so don;t hesitate to do so.

I hope to have helped a lot of people here, and to have helped a lot of fellow LW'ers to keep healthy!

Exception
06-13-2004, 08:16 AM
Did anyone actually read this, or did I rewrite, edit and post it for nothing?

riki
06-13-2004, 09:49 AM
Hi Thanks, yes I read it. Kept a copy for future reference. I think I've had this problem for a few years now. Still not really sure what I can do about it. I was having a horrible time last week, becuase I've been using an old Apple Mouse with a Trackball, that was pretty worn down and clogged up. The plastic guides underneath had worn away long ago and it was a real pain to get the mouse to go where I wanted it to go. Anyway I bought one of the new Apple Mouse with the lazar, which is saving me a lot of stress.

Tom Wood
06-13-2004, 11:08 AM
And then there is the issue that WACOM is owned by Sun Myung Moon, the guy who claims to be the messiah and insists that his followers keep his picture next to their beds when making love.

If I bought one, it would be from eBay.

TW

Exception
06-14-2004, 08:08 AM
Wow, I read up on it a bit, and that DOES change perspectives!
Bad thing is: there is no alternative for Wacom. All the other tablet manufacturers only produce horrible products with batteries in pens and so forth.

Scott Gammans
10-17-2004, 11:44 AM
And then there is the issue that WACOM is owned by Sun Myung Moon, the guy who claims to be the messiah and insists that his followers keep his picture next to their beds when making love.

If I bought one, it would be from eBay.

TW
:eek:

I dug up this thread while doing research on Wacom tablets for LightWave. I can't believe I never heard of this before, but a cursory Google search confirms it.

Thanks Tom... you just convinced me to NOT buy a Wacom tablet.

riki
10-17-2004, 04:52 PM
mmmmm no problems here, a wacom's pretty high on my shopping list. It would take more than a cult guru, to put an end to that.

keith23
10-18-2004, 10:48 AM
Thanks to Exception for posting the RSI info. Well done!
A while after I initiated this thread, I purchased a Wacom tablet and have been using it for several months now. The Rev. Moon aside, I have thoroughly enjoyed using the pen/tablet and my wrist and forearm symptoms are much better now. I alternate between the pen and the mouse (still haven't got a vertical mouse yet) and also alternate using several different wrist braces when I begin to get tired. I have also found that the pen works just fine for Lightwave, even when doing pretty complex modeling. It does take some getting used to, and I had to tweak some of the pen settings around, but I find it works quite well for me. Using the pen doesn't require the same degree of forearm pronation as using the mouse. Of course, using the pen and tablet for Photoshop and Corel Draw has been an absolute joy. :)

Scott Gammans
10-18-2004, 11:04 AM
Well, I'm glad that y'all are happy with your tablets. As for me, I'm not going to give one cent of my money to a cult leader that proclaims himself to be the Messiah and has called for the extermination of all gays and lesbians. Nuff said.

Jim_C
10-18-2004, 11:36 AM
I bet more people would avoid it if the company was owned by Bush or Kerry.

Which is sad.

keith23
10-18-2004, 11:45 AM
Geez, I guess I must be socially irresponsible for buying a Wacom tablet. And I thought I was just trying to make a living without being in constant pain.....

Except for the Messiah part, Moon and George W. Bush have something in common! :D

Tom Wood
10-18-2004, 01:29 PM
Except for the Messiah part, Moon and George W. Bush have something in common! :D

Actually, they have that in common too, except W thinks he's Moses.

http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml%3Fi=20031124&s=scheer1111

Exception
10-18-2004, 01:50 PM
I looked it up a bit and it seems to me that Wacom WAS owned by Sung Moon, but no longer... clears perspective a bit...

keith23
10-18-2004, 01:55 PM
Hey, maybe Bush could just drop a nuke on the right Rev. Moon!
Then, somebody else could make the Wacom tablet.

All this talk of tablets, Moses, Bush, and Moon... is there a pattern here?? :rolleyes:

keith23
10-18-2004, 01:58 PM
Oops! Somebody call back that B-1 with the nukes...!! :eek:

Exception
10-18-2004, 02:00 PM
Oh by the way, that article is also on my site:

http://www.except.nl/Overig/rsi.htm

Scott Gammans
10-18-2004, 02:14 PM
Hey, maybe Bush could just drop a nuke on the right Rev. Moon!
All this talk of tablets, Moses, Bush, and Moon... is there a pattern here??
:D


I looked it up a bit and it seems to me that Wacom WAS owned by Sung Moon, but no longer... clears perspective a bit...
If you can provide the link(s) to information that confirms that, I'd certainly be interested in seeing them. Everything that I have found confirms Tom's original statement (that Moon is still the owner).

Scott Gammans
10-19-2004, 04:35 PM
*bump*

C'mon, Exception... any info on Wacom's change in ownership?

Earl
10-19-2004, 07:31 PM
Let's see. Wacom tablets are unmatched in quality and performance. The company supports their products 100% and will often repair them for FREE, even after the warranty has expired (for the ones that don't have lifetime warranties).

Ehh, I really couldn't care less what the owner believed, even if it was totally opposite of my own, I personally think very highly of Wacom as a company.

Back to the topic:

I've used Wacom tablets for about 7 years now (ArtZ II, Intuos, and Intuos3) - haven't used a mouse since. While my wrist and fingers are fine, I've actually developed upper-right shoulder/neck problems due to over-extending my arm all the time with the tablet. So, be warned, if you don't have great posture and if you don't take the time to stretch and change positions thoughout the day, you could end up with problems in your back/shoulder.

Thomas M.
10-20-2004, 03:02 AM
So, what's the size you guys use? Is A6 enough or do you need an A5 or even A4 tablett? And then, what's the product line you have to go for? In terms of body problems I guess the A6 should be pretty fine, as you don't have to move your arm/wrist/hand so much.

Exception
10-20-2004, 04:02 AM
A certain mr Benedikt Schmitt (email address availble on request with me), some official from Wacom assured me the following:


The head of Wacom is Mr. Yamada and not Mr. Moon. There has been some influence from him in the past because of some moon followers working in Wacom. These people have left the sect or have left Wacom.

<cut>

If you are interested in the real facts: several years ago a few of Mr. Moons followers have been working in Wacom and tried to influence the company in a certain direction. Fact is, that they did not succeed and the company followed a different path. After that some people left Wacom, others left the moon-sect. Fact is, that Mr. Moon never was head of the company and that he is not head of Wacom today. He is also not the head of NASA or some other areas, where he may have sought to get influence. Fact is, that Wacom went public. Before this was possible all financial transactions were under close observation by officials and finance experts for several years. This is also the case now. You can be sure, that big Japanese banks and companys would not invest a single cent into Wacom, if there was any chance that this money would go to Mr.Moon.

Scott Gammans
10-20-2004, 08:55 AM
Thanks Exception, I appreciate the detailed follow-up. :)

Earl, what else can I say--I have very strong, legitimate, personal reasons for never buying anything from a company owned by Moon or the Unification Church. And that's all I'm going to say on the subject; I don't want to derail this thread any further. Thanks.